British Columbia Teachers Federation (BCTF) President Susan Lambert
Credits: CARMINE MARINELLI/QMI AGENCY
The BC Teachers' Federation said that its 40,000 members voted 75% in favour of a tentative agreement, adding that the results are in sharp contrast to those of exactly one year ago when teachers voted 90% to launch their "teach only" campaign at the beginning of the school year.
"I doubt you could find a single teacher in BC who is happy with this agreement because it does absolutely nothing to improve the situation in classrooms for students or teachers," union president Susan Lambert said in a statement. "It doesn't address class size and composition nor does it provide a fair and reasonable salary increase for our members who have fallen far behind teachers in other parts of Canada."
Lambert noted that the BCTF was able to get modest improvements in terms of most teachers' benefits, which she says were extremely outdated.
"However, the most significant achievement is that that we succeeded in getting (the provincial) government take its concession demands off the table," she said.
"Throughout 80 bargaining sessions, the government refused to budge from net zero and persisted in demanding the elimination of hard-won labour rights and fair process provisions around post and fill, and transfer and recall," Lambert said. "With this settlement we have forced government off its punitive agenda."
In the coming months, teachers will continue to hold the government accountable for providing the funding, resources, and support to meet the educational needs of B.C. children, the union says.
"This year alone, we are facing a $100 million funding shortfall due to inflationary pressures, so we know there will be further cuts to programs and services in schools come September," Lambert said. "BC teachers are proud of our role in building one of the finest public education systems in the world. We will continue to advocate for our students and our schools."